I know I’ve done a newsletter on this problem before at the start of September, but it really did hit me again over the weekend just how dangerous these overhead speed camera gantries are.
I was driving up to Northampton on Saturday just after mid-day and the traffic was running just fine on the 4 lanes of the M1 (if a little slowly for the conditions, at an average speed of about 68mph, due no doubt to the speed cameras every few hundred yards…).
Anyway, we’re all going along just fine when suddenly, the speed limit changed from 70mph to 50mph on one gantry, and on the very next to 40mph.
So that’s 70mph to 40mph in the space of 2 gantries (just a few hundred yards, or a few seconds of driving time).
Of course everyone (including myself) hit the brakes hard.
And…predictably, there was no accident to be seen on the road ahead.
I had a think about it and I could only come up with 3 possible explanations for this weirdness. Either:
1) the speed cameras were on and they were trying to raise money to pay for the cameras;
2) the speed cameras were off and the signs were being managed incompetently;
3) the speed cameras were on and the signs were being managed incompetently.
if you can think of another explanation, please let me know…
I know I’m using strong language here, but in my opinion peoples’ lives are at risk.
Sudden braking is what causes multi-car pile ups.
If it’s an accident then that’s one thing but if it’s because of these horrible gantries springing a new speed limit on drivers out of the blue, then that’s quite another in my opinion.
And it’s irrelevant whether the cameras are live or not. It’s the result of them being there that’s the point…
It seems like a terrible irony that pro speed camera groups talk about them saving lives but here we have what — to me at least — is a blatant high speed crash hazard being created in the name of safety.
All the best,
P.S. The solution? Well at risk of repeating myself, here’s my opinion as I proposed in a previous newsletter:
Get rid of the cameras and use the gantries for something other than collecting fines.
For example, they could display messages like:
“Breakdown in lane 1 ahead, please move to outside lanes”.
Drivers would then be concentrating on moving out of the way of the breakdown and safely backing off the speed rather than stamping on the breaks to avoid a speeding ticket, and thus causing further accidents behind them.